DAY 11. COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.
﴿٢٦﴾ فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ26.
So where are you heading?
There was a man in Turkey who was travelling with his favourite donkey, a faithful companion for years and an animal very close to his heart. At the end of a hard day on the road he came to an inn and decided to rest there for the night. No sooner than he had taken off the saddle bags than a youth working for the inn came out to greet him.
“Salaam Aleikum, sir, welcome to our humble shelter! Please, come inside and get some warm soup and sit beside the fire.”
“Of course, I’d love to but first I must make sure my donkey is well cared for.” The man said, patting his donkey on the back. The youth smiled generously.
“Please, sir, allow me to attend to such details, you are an honoured guest here.”
“But it’s just that he’s an old donkey and needs a nice bed of hay to lie in.”
“Sir, we guarantee you the best care possible.”
“But you will sweep the floor first to make sure there are no stones? He gets in a terrible mood if he doesn’t sleep well.”
“Please, sir, just trust me, we are professionals here.”
“But you will add some water to his straw – his teeth are getting shakey and he likes just a little fresh grass to begin with.”
“Sir, you are embarrassing me!”
“And you will give him a little rubdown along the spine – he goes crazy for that!”
“Sir, please just leave everything to me.”
So finally the man gave in and entered the establishment to enjoy a fine dinner by the fire and a comfortable bed. Meanwhile the youth rolled his eyes and… then went out to play cards in a nearby den.
The man could not sleep somehow, despite the silk sheets, as he kept having nightmares of his donkey chained up without water or food, lying on the cold stone. The vision wouldn’t leave him and so he got up in his dressing gown, walked down the steps to the stable and there! His donkey was in exactly the condition he’d imagined – cold, hungry and dying of thirst. – The Essential Rumi
Today I spoke to friends on the above ayah (evidence from the Holy Quran) and used the ayah in Arabic asking them, “Where are we heading/going?” with our lives in the way that we do things now that a new normal as set in as a result of the LOCKDOWN. The ensuing conversations were at first humorous for example, “I am going to the the kitchen to work.” However, it did make for a deep discussion because the questions begs reflective thought. Really, there was no time to have lengthy discussions under the circumstances but, it did generate healthy thought which we carried back to our homes.
Really, where are we heading with the lives we lead? This LOCKDOWN, got me thinking on it especially when you use this time to declutter and spring clean. You realise just how much we collect, buy and keep things we have not used in years yet, we hold on to it as if its coming to grave with us. Like the picture that features the article, we are heading on the winding road because we have the means to travel on it but, we don’t know the destination. We know the road must stop somewhere therefore, as long as we see road in front of us, we just drive along. This road is life. We hope to live the next day and that gives us hope for the next and so on. Little do we realise that this road is ending and we have not, in many cases took the path we wanted, but are on the path others desired for us. Did we stop and ask if this path we one, is the one that Allah, the High, the Great will be pleased with? I guess not.
Like the young man who was requested to take care of the donkey cared less of the job he was supposed to be professional with, we are like him with our spiritual life. We get side tracked so quickly with the distractions of the world that we make promises to the soul only to calm it but, instantly we fall into the enticing trap of our passions.
The man who owned the donkey was well aware it’s needs, likes and dislikes that it worried him if it was taken care of. His luxury could not comfort him because he was worried about his donkey that was out in the cold. Consider for a moment, the donkey to be our inner self and the man the outer self and the young man our ego.
With our inner self (the donkey), we have left it vulnerable to the ego. Our outer self (the man) we know what is right and what do tell others on what is right. Our ego (the young man) is the hidden enemy within the outer self that will make promises and give you such a sense of security and safety that you don’t worry anymore. With this triumvirate we are heading along this road of life. Stop! let us take note of ourselves.
In Chapter 81 above, please click on the link, it is so clear that all the destruction will be means to make mankind realise the end of this world is a reality and mankind is heading towards a meeting with his Lord. Therefore, look at this COVID-19 as means to save yourself from hopelessness. Firstly, if you got up this morning without infection, you are fortunate whilst millions are not. Secondly, its a new day to change your life so that you head the path of life with gratitude. Thirdly, you take this affliction as a calamity of this transient world which will pass but, save yourself from the eternal calamity of the hereafter.
I am obliged by the ayah above to cite the conclusion of the article on the reading of By Mufti Muhammad Fārūq Meeruti
“It is reported in one hadith that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “By Him in whose control is my life! You should continue to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, or else Allah will send down such a punishment upon you that you will make du’a unto Him and He will not accept your du’as.”
In one hadith it is reported that Allah does not punish a whole community on the sins of a small group of people until these people transgress openly in front of such people who have the power of preventing them and yet do not do so. The punishment of Allah then overtakes all. The du’as of the pious will then be of no avail to anyone.
It is due to overlooking such regulations that day-by-day we are observing greater calamities, disasters, destruction, violence, diseases, accidents involving planes, trains, ships, and cars. Now that the regulations of amr bi al-ma’rūf wa nahī ‘an al-munkar (enjoining right and forbidding evil) have been almost completely discarded, there is no hope of even acceptance of our du’as.”
Then I came across the ayah in the Holy Quran, Chapter 36, ayah 53
﴿٥٣﴾ قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ53. Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against their souls: do not despair of Allah’s mercy, for Allah forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful.
This ayah gave me hope and I transcended my despair by soaring into the mercy of Allah because I felt another day dawning for me.